Anyone who knows the Gouger St strip in Adelaide will know that it is a hive of gastronomic activity and has recently had a number of new openings particularly near the Morphett Street end which has taken the area as a whole right into the South Australian ‘gastro-sphere’. However, it has always been home to Adelaides chinatown and there are a few places that I just keep going back to because they are cheap, quick, easy and best of all good. BBQ City in the central market precinct right near chinatown is just such a place. Its a relatively no frills affair, which generally includes the service and now after frequently the place regularly for the last few years, a few of the regular staff there occasionally smile at us. That being said however, what keeps me coming back again and again is as their namesake suggests, their BBQ meats done Chinese style.
Salt and Pepper Squid
Salt and Pepper Squid is has become somewhat passe in recent years with every cliched corner cafe and even supermarkets now offering their own mass produced versions available in the frozen section. The version served here are however a reason to start eating them again. The batter used is delicious with savoury notes and the squid is generally never tough here. But the winner and what gives it the chinese style is the addition of chopped and fried chillies, shallots and onions which take the dish to another dimension. For those who dont like squid or are vegetarian, they also do a salt and pepper eggplant that is TO DIE FOR!!!
Combination Roast (Roast Duck, Roast Pork and BBQ Pork)
To those of you who a familiar with such styles of food, the ‘bread and butter’ of this establishment is generally roast ducks, chickens and pork done in numerous ways. In this dish, we have ‘Roast Pork’ which is typically pork belly roasted with a crispy crunchy and tasty exterior and a rich, fatty and soft interior. BBQ pork generally has a ‘rub’ of some description and is usually made from pork loin. It is generally both sweet and savoury in flavour and is also used in other dishes like soups and rice. The Roast Duck has a crispy bronzed skin with a somewhat sweet flavour sometimes enhanced with a little salt and spice with hints of 5 spice.
BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
Done in a similar way to the BBQ Pork are the Pork Ribs. These are one of my favourites on the menu. Meat cooked on the bone in a sensitive way is always a winner and in this case, the flavour profile of the BBQ pork is mixed with the textural chewiness of a carefully roasted intercostal muscle which comes served on natures own serving implements, the bones.
Steam Whole Barramundi with Ginger and Shallots
This is what my wife likes to order as a result of trying to be healthy and I just love it. Barramundi taken live from a tank and steamed with ginger and shallots with a soya and presumarly rice wine type sauce is delicate, light and most of all one of the best ways to enjoy a wonderful whole fish. The sauce also compliments other dishes well and thus is good value for the family eater.
Other good dishes there include the fried rice (try stopping at just one bowl!) and they have a range of one plate dish deals for the single diner and also have a number of dishes on the menu to suit the more adventurous and traditionally chinese such as roast pidgeon (head included!), congee dishes as well as all your ‘Westernised’ chinese favourites. They also do a wonderful shredded duck soup which I find restorative in the most pleasing of ways.
Also a great place to take kids, they will supply you with a high chair if required and I can assure you from experience that all kids are able to experience the restaurant in whatever way you see fit (my five year old daughter has been a regular since the age of one and a half and as a youngster tried every trick in the book…fellow parents, you know where I am coming from here!).
Price vary of course according to what you eat but me (as a large eater), my wife (as a regular eater) and daughter (small eater) get out of the place completely stuffed for around $20 per head.
It is generally easy to get a table as a walk in but for Friday nights or large tables, I would strongly suggest booking in advance.
BBQ City Restaurant
84 Gouger St , Adelaide
SA, 5000. Australia
Phone:08 8212 8299.